Category Archives: Player Profiles

Player Profiles – Rhona McGregor

With 2020 underway, and the outdoor season about to make a return, we have another ‘Player Profiles’ interview ready.

Rhona McGregor joined back at the start of the 2018-19 season, and has regularly featured in Clydesdale Western’s 2nd XI. With the challenge of juggling work and hockey, reporter Ally Walker managed to meet with Rhona to discuss how her time at Clydesdale has been:

After finishing her medical degree at Dundee University, where she played for the Uni and for Grove Menzieshill, 25 year old Rhona McGregor has found her hockey home at Clydesdale.

Rhona was a member of Grove Menzieshill in Dundee before her medical career brought her to Glasgow – which is where she found Clydesdale. (Photo credit: Rhona McGregor).

Encouraged by the enthusiastic recruiting of Lesley Cosh and Nicky Wilson, Rhona joined the 2s last year and has been enjoying not just the hockey, but the social side of ‘Dale too. She said: “Most of the 2s are in their 20s, with professional jobs to juggle with training and it makes a nice change to be surrounded by people who are, mostly, not medics. (Susie Allan and Karin Belch will know what I mean!)”

Rhona (top row, fifth from left) also played for Dundee University as a student, and was teammate of fellow Clydesdale Western player Karin Belch (to Rhona’s right). (Photo credit: Rhona McGregor).

Rhona is no slacker though when it comes to competition. Previously a sprinter, she was a hair breadth’s away from breaking the 4×100 metres Scottish record as a school girl. And she’s still looking to push herself, having hung up her spikes and committed to hockey. She told me that’s another reason she was drawn to ‘Dale. “The fact that the 2s are in the Championship League was really important to me as that means we get to play a high level of hockey each week, yet the team understands if shift patterns mean I sometimes can’t get to all the training sessions.”

Rhona (bottom row, second from the right) took part in this summer’s Clydesdale Mixed Festival back in July 2019. (Photo credit: Susie Allan).

After a bit of a rocky start for the 2s at the beginning of the year, Rhona is optimistic for this season, with numbers increasing at training sessions and coaches working the team on different skills. She said: “We’re grateful to Nicky Wilson for coaching us last year and to Lesley Cosh helping to coach this year and also for the sessions where Paddy Lonergan put us through our paces. This year Donald Amour is coaching us at weekends – having him on the sidelines is making a really big difference, letting Nicky and Lesley get on with the game. And now Fran Lonergan from the 1s is coaching us on Wednesday evenings. It’s typical of the club that people just step up to help – another reason to like the ‘Dale!”

In fact, Rhona was liking Titwood so much, she recruited her “other half” Ben Wilson, who started this season in defence for the Men’s 1st XI. And yes, he comes to her games sometimes and provides some tips afterwards.

After a successful 2018-19, Rhona recruited partner Ben Wilson (pictured for Clydesdale in a pre-season friendly) to join for the following season. Ben is a regular fixture in the Men’s 1st XI. (Photo credit: Rhona Weir).

Maybe Ben, you can provide Rhona and the 2s with some advice on how to beat those pesky 3s – the Ladies 3s have won two of the last three matches against the Ladies 2s since Rhona’s arrival!

Banner photo credit: Ally Walker

Player Profiles – Alex Ingram

It’s been a while, but ‘Player Profiles’ is back!

Almost five months since we reported on our current Clydesdale & Clydesdale Western members, and a lot has gone on since then – including Alex Ingram, who joined in 2017, becoming Men’s 2nd XI captain.  Talking about life at Titwood, there was no better time to meet with Ally Walker who reports:

Alex Ingram is made of stern stuff!

After a tough Tuesday night training session in torrential rain he came straight off the pitch, dripped a bit and sat down to have a chat.  Now in his third year with Clydesdale, Alex is captaining the M2s and is now halfway through the outdoor season.

Alex began with, “We’re going to push on this year – last year was pretty tough and we had to fight hard. But we’ve got some experienced players back after injury and work commitments and that’s going to strengthen the team considerably. It was good to get a comfortable win over Kelburne to get the league started, and have collected a few more wins along the way!”   Since that opening day 7-2 win against Kelburne back in September, the Men’s 2s are fifth in Men’s Regional Division One, and are certainly holding their own as they look to keep up at the top end of the table.  Very much an improvement from last season’s second bottom finish.

28 year old Alex says he’s a bit of hockey nomad.  Originally from Bristol, he first played played hockey at school in Newcastle from the age of 13.  Then, with some help from a local hockey development coach, he and some of his school teammates launched a brand new club team, the Newcastle Mens’ Club, which continues to thrive in the north east.  After school, Alex moved north to study at Strathclyde University, where he played for four years, winning the BUCS Cup in his final year.  He then worked away for two years before Glasgow drew him back again and he found his hockey home at Clydesdale.

Alex believes one of ‘Dale’s real strengths is its friendliness.  “There aren’t many clubs where you can turn up from a different part of the country and instantly find a friend group.  And I also really like the way that the mens’ and womens’ teams are all part of the same social group and support each other’s games.”

Alex claims he’s been thrown in at the deep end as Men’s 2s captain and he certainly looks a little drowned from the main cover photo!  And being someone who founded a hockey club as a teenager, it seems to me Alex will cope just fine.

Photo credit: Ally Walker & Rhona Weir

Player Profiles – Barry, Cara & Patrick McAllister

With ‘Pitch Up and Play’ well and truly underway, and plenty of hockey opportunities for juniors – such as the summer hockey camps which are fast approaching – we thought we would have another ‘Player Profiles’ report.

Or how about three in one?! The McAllister family – which includes Barry and his two children, Cara and Patrick – are very much established club players for Clydesdale & Clydesdale Western. ‘Player Profiles’ reporter Ally Walker met up with all three to discuss how they got into hockey and life as Clydesdale members:

When Cara McAllister’s primary school PE teacher told her that she was the worst outfield hockey player she had ever seen, she unwittingly set Cara on the path of a very successful goalkeeping career! Aged just 15, Cara has already been to EuroHockey Club Challenge I in Lille as reserve goalkeeper for Clydesdale Western 1st XI and when I spoke to her, she was just off the plane from St Aloysius College’s 1st XI hockey tour to Lisbon.

After discovering the joys of throwing herself around in a goal, Cara joined Clydesdale Western and quickly moved up through the ladies teams from the 7s to the 6s to the 5s, leapfrogging over the 4s and is now well established in the 3s. Quick to spot a talented youngster, the school put Cara forward for U14s and U16s district teams where she thrived. And last season she trained with the U18s Regional Academy, putting her firmly on the pathway for more U18s action at both district and national level.

Cara has worked her way up the teams at Clydesdale Western, especially after a superb season for the L5s in which they gained promotion to Women’s West District Division Two in the 2017-18 season. (Photo credit: Barry McAllister).

Looking back on the last season with Clydesdale Western, and putting the Euros with the L1s to the side, I asked Cara what were her highlights: “Going to penalty flicks in the Plate Quarter-Final (against GHK 1s) and winning has to be up there. But then so was beating the Clydesdale 2s!”

Cara (pictured in green for the L3s vs. L1s in the Scottish Cup back in November 2018) kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win for the L3s over the L2s a few weeks after in Women’s Championship Division One. (Photo credit: Rhona Weir).

Another of Cara’s hockey achievements over the years has been to recruit her younger brother, Patrick, and father, Barry, into hockey at Clydesdale. Patrick and Barry now operate as a highly effective ‘Team McAllister’ in the Men’s 5s. Patrick, who is turning 12, started coming along to Friday night “Jockey” a couple of years ago and is now training with the Boys’ Performance squad as well as representing the Men’s 5s.

Patrick represented the Men’s 5th XI throughout the majority of last season as well as the club’s junior sides. (Photo credit: Mark Pugh).

Like his sister, he was invited to join in everything that was going on. For Patrick that included U12 festivals, U14 and U15s district events and then came training for the U13s national Nottingham tournament. It was the night before the bus to Nottingham when I met Patrick and he didn’t know yet that this was going to be an experience that he’ll never forget! But he was definitely looking forward to it. He said: “We’ve got some great kit for Nottingham and I’ve got friends like Andrew Cox going with me too.”

Patrick (if you can spot him slightly left of centre!) was selected as part of the “Alba an Iar” U13 squad that played in a hockey festival in Nottingham that took place a couple of days ago. (Photo credit: Ross McWilliams)

The recruitment of father, Barry has been a coup for the 5s. With 30 years of ice hockey experience behind him, Barry had hung up his skates and turned his attention to taxiing Patrick and Cara to training and games. However, he hadn’t bargained for the pincer action of Tricia Lonergan and Karl Richmond. Tricia lent him a stick and introduced him to Monday night’s ‘Pitch up and Play’ which runs throughout the summer during the off season. And when ‘Pitch Up and Play’ had finished, then Karl moved in and recruited him for the 5s.

Barry (pictured representing the Glasgow Chiefs Ice Hockey team) found himself playing Men’s Senior hockey after a successful summer at Clydesdale’s Pitch Up and Play. (Photo credit: Jane McAllister).

Barry said: “I absolutely love it! People have been really welcoming and I’m really enjoying training and playing with Patrick. Although I know only too well that it won’t be long before we’ll be going in different directions.”

So how does that ice hockey experience play out in real hockey? Cara and Patrick were quick to explain: “He can’t get used to only playing with only one side of his stick. And then he does these small nudges!”

However, I have heard from reliable sources that the big slap shot comes in very handy sometimes!

A young Patrick and a young Cara with Barry after a Glasgow Chiefs game – with each ice hockey stick considerably bigger than both of them! (Photo credit: Jane McAllister).

Main photo credit: Ally Walker

Player Profiles – Ben Galloway

‘Player Profiles’ continues with another 1st Men’s player. But unlike the last time, the focus is on a youngster – hot prospect Ben Galloway. 2018-19 proved to be Ben’s breakthrough season in the Men’s 1st XI, and Ally Walker caught up with him to talk about the season he had, as well as a number of other aspects in Ben’s day to day life.

Just under two weeks ago, 15 year old Ben Galloway scored his first goal for the 1s against Watsonians at Peffermill Playing Fields – and it was no tap in!

When I asked him, like all strikers, he was able to tell me exactly how it happened: “I picked up the ball at the half way line, ran it past a player and into the D. I took it to the top right hand side of the D and roofed it over the keeper’s head. It was my best hockey moment so far.”

And Ben has had lots of hockey moments – from early days with Fiona McCrae and Peter ‘PJ’ Justice at Shawlands Academy indoor training, all the way through the M6s, M5s, M4s, M3s and M2s. But 2018/19 has been a big year as he stepped up from last season when he played mostly for the M3s. Ben turned out eight times for the 1st XI during the 2018-19 season and is thrilled but acknowledged the big jump: “The speed of the game is so much faster and everyone is “in the moment” all of the time. You always have to know what your next move is going to be.”

Whilst it’s a challenge, Ben credits coach Ciaran Crawford for helping him grow his confidence. “I was shocked when Ciaran first called me up to play for the 1s but knowing that Ciaran has confidence in me, helps me feel I deserve to be here.”

Ben featured eight times in total for the Men’s 1st XI during the 2018-19 season, with his debut coming in a 5-4 win away to Uddingston. (Photo credit: Rhona Weir)

Ben is currently in the Scotland U16s squad and is all set to head off to Cardiff over Easter weekend for a series of games against Wales, with further fixtures against England, Ireland and Ulster also on the programme for the summer. It’s Ben’s second year in the U16s and he enjoys both the hockey and the friendships. “I’ve got a good group of friends in the U16s. We’ve spent a lot of time together and we understand each other both on and off the pitch.”

Last year, his Clydesdale and Scotland experiences came together nicely, he said: “Struan (Walker) and I played together, probably as under 8s in the Shawlands hall, and then last summer we faced England together with our Scotland U16s shirts on!”

Ben has been in U16 setup for Scotland for a few years, and was lucky enough to represent his country at Titwood when they played Wales in the spring of 2018. (Photo credit: Duncolm Sports Photography)

It’s an impressive hockey CV but Ben is also a Scottish swimming champion and has just picked up a clutch of team and individual medals in the 15s age group in the Scottish Nationals. To achieve that, he’s poolside at 5.15am three mornings a week with a further three evening sessions too. He’s let off one session a week so that he can go to hockey training. Unsurprisingly, his stamina is pretty sound!

I felt exhausted just talking to him about his training in the pool and on the pitch – and there’s the small matter of National 5s coming up the track too.

Ben has shown fantastic levels of ability in his hockey, but is also an excellent swimmer having won team and individual medals in various events. (Photo credit: Ally Walker)

Ben clearly has the ability to manage both hockey and swimming at national level and finds the sports complement each other well. However, his final comment about hockey was insightful and I think expresses something that all ‘Dale players feel about the game.

“Swimming is just about how fast you can go in the pool. But hockey isn’t just about how you play, It’s about how you fit in with the team, how well you get on with your team mates.”

Ally Walker

Player Profiles – Sam Hayes

‘Player Profiles’ is back again, and our next feature is about Men’s 1st XI player, Sam Hayes.  Sam has had a relatively short spell at Clydesdale, but has since found himself a mainstay of the 1s squad, and he owes it all to a kind gesture as Ally Walker reports:

“Match teas are important!”

A plate of pasta from a welcoming and friendly opposition turned out to be one of the reasons that 1st team player and 25 year old Sam Hayes, ended up joining Clydesdale in the summer of 2016.  The background to this story started when Sam played for Edinburgh University, to which he said, “I was playing for Edinburgh Uni 2s at the time and we were playing ‘Dale 2s.  I remember thinking that this was a team that was serious and competitive on the pitch, but that off the pitch they were really friendly and relaxed.  And there aren’t many teams that lay on a match tea.”

Sam (centre), who joined Clydesdale in 2016, has been a regular fixture for the Men’s 1st XI for over a year. (Photo credit: Duncolm Sports Photography)

Fast forward a couple of years later in 2016, when Sam moved to Glasgow to study Pharmacy at Strathclyde University, he found himself on the right side of the city and was soon signed up for Clydesdale, starting in the Men’s 2nd XI.  Half a season later, he was promoted to the Men’s 1st XI.  “It was a big jump.  I had to persevere and grow into it.  And sometimes I played for the 2s which I really enjoyed too.  Callum McLeod was important for me as his calm head definitely got the best hockey out of me and I started playing better and began to cement my place in the team.”  Like many of the 1s players, Sam – originally from Dunfermline – has (most probably) put in over 10,000 hours of hockey practice over the years.  But when he was in Primary 7, Sam was a promising young footballer with Dunfermline FC juniors, which he points out “were good in those days”.  But he hung up his football boots when Dunfermline hockey legend Keith Forster recruited him from St Margaret’s Primary School.

Pictured right, Sam paid tribute to the hospitality of the ‘Dale members when he played against them when representing Edinburgh University and as a main factor as to why he joined the club. (Photo credit: Andy Lovat)

From then on, Sam spent the rest of his school years being transported around the country with youth teams in Forster’s massive Chevrolet people carrier.  Sam started playing for Dunfermline Carnegie’s 7th team, a team which ranged in age from 13 to 80 and that played “not nice hockey” in his views.  However, Sam moved quickly on and up and was playing for Dunfermline Carnegie 1st XI by the age of 15.  Sam clearly has fond memories of his formative hockey years with Dunfermline Carnegie.  And that’s despite the “badge of honour” scar he currently sports above his eyebrow, sustained during the first five minutes of an indoor match this season, where his head collided with a reverse stick shot from a Dunfermline Carnegie forward!

Ouch! Sam sporting his scar suffered in indoor against his schoolboy club, Dunfermline Carnegie. He was in good spirits afterwards!

We’re glad that Sam had many good years with Dunfermline Carnegie and with Edinburgh University too. But now we’re claiming him for our own and can promise him many more good years to come with Clydesdale.

Photo credit: Andy Lovat